Fiber is the indigestible carbohydrate found in plant cell walls and is either soluble or insoluble.
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to soften stools, helping to prevent hemorrhoids and diverticulosis.
Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance that helps keep dietary cholesterol from being absorbed so it is moved out of the body. Soluble fiber also helps control blood sugar levels, an advantage in managing diabetes.
In addition, because fiber stimulates intestinal movement, waste products travel through the intestine faster.
Harmful substances have less time in contact with the intestinal walls.
Researchers have observed a relationship between high-fiber diets and lower incidence of colon and rectal cancer, as well as less constipation.
Fruits and Vegetables
Some ways to increase your family's intake of fruits and vegetables include:
- Keep fresh fruit handy for snacks.
- Offer snacks of fruit or vegetables in place of chips, crackers or cookies.
- Eat an orange for breakfast instead of drinking orange juice.
- Always have at least two vegetables or fruits with the noon and evening meals.
Do you drink enough water each day? Two to three quarts a day is the recommendation for normal activity. A gallon of fluid should be consumed if you are in an exercise program or extreme summer heat. Besides water, the best fluids include milk, fruit juice and vegetable juices. Sodas, coffee and tea will contribute to your overall fluid intake, but may add unnecessary sugars and calories as well as caffeine. Beverages with caffeine tend to act as a diuretic, causing you to lose fluid.
Drinking a large volume of fluid will decrease the likelihood of forming kidney stones, help prevent constipation, and may protect against bladder and kidney cancers. This is because the urine is diluted, causing frequent elimination, both of which may reduce exposure to cancer-causing agents.
Strive to drink at 8 glasses of water each day in addition to other beverages. Don't wait until you are thirsty to have a drink of water!
- Whenever you see a water fountain, take a drink.
- Purchase a two-quart insulated bottle, fill it with water and drink it throughout the day.
- For every cup of coffee, tea or soda you consume, drink the same amount of water.
- Instead of filling your travel much with soda or coffee, fill it with water.
Resistant starch is actually a type of fiber that your body doesn't absorb. Resistant starch is found in foods like cold cooked potatoes, navy beans, and lentils, and it provides the same benefits as fiber. How much weight you can lose is unclear, but the effects may be similar to those of regular fiber. Experts say Americans get 3 to 8 grams per day but could benefit from double that amount. Resistant starch isn't available in pill form, but you can buy it in bulk and add it to food or smoothies. Caution: Too much could lead to bathroom troubles.
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